Earlier this year, Maria Sierra, one of the most famous cigar rollers in the world, passed away at the age of 70.
Unlike most of the other famous cigar rollers—either rollers turned brand owners like José “Pepín” García or the Cuban custom rollers like Hamlet Paredes—Sierra’s fame came much later in life. In 2012, La Palina launched the Goldie Series, a high-priced limited edition that was rolled at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, a small factory Sierra had begun working at after decades in Cuba.
The Goldie blend—an Ecuadorian habano wrapper over an Ecuadorian habano binder and Nicaraguan fillers—quickly garnered a lot of praise, but it was the story of how it was rolled that was the real talking point, as every cigar was rolled entirely by Sierra. It’s something that is rare, although not unheard of in the cigar industry, but the success of the blend and the decision to promote this fact made Sierra a known name in the cigar industry.
Sierra retired in 2017 and when she did, she turned the rolling duties over to Lopez “Chino” Perez, who has been at the helm since.
This year’s Goldie—the seventh in the series—uses the 5 7/8 x 52 parejo size known as cañonazo, best known for its use as the Cohiba Siglo VI. Unlike the Cohiba, the La Palina version features a fantail cap, a signature part of all Goldie releases to date.
- La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 2 (6 x 38) — July 2012 — $15 (Boxes of 10, $150) — 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito No. 5 (5 5/8 x 54) — May 2013 — $18 (Boxes of 10, $180) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial (7 x 40) — May 2014 — $16.50 (Boxes of 10, $165) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Laguito Robusto Extra (6 1/10 x 50) — June 2015 — $18 (Boxes of 10, $180) — 2,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Dalia (6 3/4 x 43) — June 2016 — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Toro (6 x 52) — June 2017 — $22 (Boxes of 10, $220) — 2,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- La Palina Goldie Cañonazo (5 7/8 x 52) — October 2018 — $22 (Boxes of 10, $220) — 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
La Palina began shipping the Cañonazo in October, much later than in years prior.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Palina Goldie Cañonazo
- Country of Origin: U.S.A.
- Factory: El Titan de Bronze
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
- Binder: Ecuador (Habano)
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $22 (Boxes of 10, $220)
- Release Date: Oct. 22, 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Cañonazo is a well-rolled cigar with a very oily wrapper, but there are also quite a number of veins. I wouldn’t have described the Goldie’s wrapper as particularly flawless over the years, but the examples I look at have veins running in all sorts of directions that are quite distracting. Aroma off the wrapper is not particularly pleasant, just a medium-full batch of acidity. The foot is also medium-full, an acorn-like flavor with some floral flavor behind it and a touch of the acidity. It takes me a bit, but I eventually figure out that the main cold draw flavor is a mixture of pistachio and game jerky, both of which caught me a bit off guard. There’s also something that I think is best described as a vegetal flavor just slightly behind it, another not so pedestrian flavor.
It begins with pistachios, creaminess, peanuts and a bit of harshness. Those nutty flavors stick around for all of the first third, but as the Cañonazo burns, their distinctness is reduced and it tastes more of a generic nut mixture. In addition, there’s earthiness, creaminess and some mineral flavors underneath. Retrohales of the La Palina deliver burnt brisket and some lemon flavors. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium. All three cigars needed to be touched up immediately after lighting, despite a nice even ring of red around the cigars initially, I didn’t dock points for this as I suppose this might have been on me, but it was odd. Once lit a second time things were much better and the cigar produced average amounts of smoke and an above average quality ash.
I wish that I could describe the flavors of the second third more precisely, but in many aspects, one of the dominant flavors is a mixture of many different types of bread. In addition, there’s a harsh cedar, burning woods and a burnt orange flavor underneath. The finish of the La Palina is super nutty, almost to the point of drying out the mouth. Retrohales have soy sauce and a deep nuttiness a flavor that reminds me of eating the inside of a French loaf. While that’s all good, a bit of sweetness would go a long way at this point of the cigar. Touch ups are needed on each sample to varying degrees to keep the Goldie burning. Flavor remains medium-full, body is almost full and strength is still medium.
The final third of the La Palina Goldie Cañonazo is a struggle. It seems that once the cigar goes out completely—which happens on each of the three I smoke for this review—there’s very little that I can do to keep it burning. Relight after relight sees the cigars last a few more puffs and then they are out again. Surprisingly, what flavors I’m able to pick up are quite good: a vibrant generic nuttiness, pecan and earth. For whatever it’s worth, the aroma of the cigar changes dramatically to a hickory variety. Flavor finishes medium-full, body stays at full and strength picks up to medium-plus.
- I feel like much of the excitement for the Goldies is gone. There was a time where this was probably one of the 10 most anticipated releases each year, that’s feels like it’s no longer the case.
- My guess is the decision to release the cigar later in the year didn’t help reverse this trend. Whatever the case, it is notable that this is the fewest amount of Goldies that have been released since the inaugural cigar.
- If I wasn’t smoking these cigars for review and wanted to finish them, I probably would have cut them after the failed relights. I did my best to knock the ash off, but I’m guessing getting an entirely clean surface to do a relight would have been a more effective technique than the one I tried.
- The Goldie line is named for Goldie Drell Paley, the wife of Samuel Paley, who originally launched the La Palina brand in 1896 as part of the Congress Cigar Company. Goldie is also the grandmother of Bill Paley, who relaunched the La Palina brand in 2010.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 20 minutes on average.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., JR Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars have the La Palina Goldie Cañonazo in stock.
While the Goldie has generally scored well over the years, I’ve often found the cigar to be disappointing. While I wouldn’t say the Cañonazos is my least favorite Goldie, it does nothing to change this opinion. This is a cigar that tasted above average, burned poorly and cost a lot of money. It’s also a very far cry to the early days of the series when the Goldie was an easy candidate for a top 25 list.